New BAE Systems Ironclad multirole UGV Unmanned Ground Vehicle DSEI 2017


At DSEI 2017, the Defense and Security Exhibition in London, UK, BAE Systems displays the Ironclad™, a new Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) designed to take on some of the most dangerous jobs that soldiers currently face. Ironclad is small enough to negotiate tight urban environments, but maintains the mobility needed to handle extreme cross-country terrain. It can also be fitted to carry out reconnaissance, combat and casualty evacuation roles.


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The BAE Systems Ironclad UGV is a new multirole unmanned ground vehicle


Craig Fennell, Future Programmes Director at BAE Systems Land (UK) explained: “Ironclad has a unique set of capabilities for a UGV. Using high endurance battery power, it offers near silent running up to a 50km range and will come with a set of mission systems that can be quickly changed in the field. A modular connection system allows two vehicles to be connected together to handle additional loads, such as a specialised stretcher. It is also protected against blast and small arms fire to increase mission survivability.”

“The next step is for Ironclad to act autonomously as part of a battlegroup, interacting with other vehicles and ground troops to follow mission objectives. This is being tested on existing vehicles as the technology— already at a high state of readiness — is developed.”

Each Ironclad is built with a hardware interface that allows the different mission fits to be attached easily. This connection supplies both power and command from the main vehicle chassis, which houses the battery and a two-way remote control unit. The chassis is designed so that hardware needed for autonomous capability can be added at a later stage.

The Ironclad is designed to prform different types of missions including reconnaissance tasks providing images and audio streamed directly back to soldiers. Ideal for exploring hazardous environments before putting boots on the ground.


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BAE Systems Ironclad  in casualty evacuation configuration with stretcher attachment for transporting wounded soldiers at DSEI 2017, the Defense and Security Exhibition in London, UK.


At DSEI 2017, the Ironclad was showed in casualty evacuation configuration with stretcher attachment for transporting wounded soldiers away from battlefield. Each UGV frees up two soldiers who would otherwise be needed to carry the casualty.

The Ironclad can also be used as area denial with remote weapon station combined with imaging and audio sensors allowing soldiers to project force at a distance. In explosive ordnance disposal configuration, it can be used as bomb disposal robots, but with the flexibility to change roles.

Craig Fennell summarised what Ironclad offers: “Ironclad— while being a product in its own right—is also a step towards the battlefield of the future where we expect fleets of unmanned air and ground vehicles to work together, sharing situational awareness and pursuing combat objectives. There will always be a human in the loop, but increasing use of autonomy and unmanned vehicles means they can focus on key decisions and have more options to avoid putting people in dangerous situations.”


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